The Regional Challenge Fund (RCF) is a new program that seeks to increase the productivity and competitiveness of businesses in the Western Balkans 6.
Businesses need skilled employees. And young people need to build the right skills, which can be difficult in today’s challenging environment. The RCF will help bridge this gap by funding investments in the equipment and infrastructure that vocational training providers need to help their students build the skills that today’s companies demand. Specifically, the RCF supports vocational education and training providers that use a cooperative training approach by investing in the modern training equipment and facilities that businesses use today. The Fund will disburse EUR 18.8m over five years to support investments in cooperative training projects.
First Call for the Expressions of Interest in the Regional Challenge Fond was launched on February 1st and will be open until April 30, 2021.
To promote the First Call for the Expressions of Interest, the Fund Management Unit in cooperation with the Chamber Investment Forum of the WB 6 organized 30 events simultaneously in the six Western Balkan economies.
The interest of the potential applicants from all six economies and all economic sectors reached as many as 3500+ attendees from all around the region!
The campaign started with a regional launch event and continued with the national launch conferences in each of the economies. National launch events were supported by the representatives from the CIF and the Chambers of Commerce, ministries in charge of VET, German Embassies and KfW offices, international and national initiatives in the field of cooperative VET, and the Fund Management Unit.
These introductory events were followed by info sessions that clarified key eligibility criteria and the RCF funding principles. Moreover, the RCF team organized additional instructional tutorials and Q&A sessions to guide the potential applicants through the online grant application system.
Applications are open to consortia of one vocational training institute and at least two enterprises. The consortia agree to cooperate to implement cooperative VET courses that result in nationally recognised certificates. The consortia may operate in any of the WB6 economies.
Interested parties should apply because:
The RCF application process has two stages. In Stage 1, interested consortia submit an EOI. After a review of Expressions of Interest by an independent selection panel, shortlisted consortia are invited to participate in Stage 2, and submit a full application including a proposal for the planned investment.
The RCF is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to KfW Development Bank and executed by the Western Balkans 6 Chamber Investment Forum (WB6-CIF), a joint initiative of chambers of commerce from the region.